Unitil seeks Mass. natural gas rate hike

Hampton-based Unitil’s Massachusetts subsidiary has filed for a natural gas rate decrease for the winter season with the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy.

Unitil said residents will see an average decrease of 0.2 percent, or 56 cents, per month over last winter’s rates.

The rate change affects default service customers and will not apply to customers who buy their own natural gas.

According to the utility, the cost of gas adjustment in Massachusetts is set twice a year to reflect changes in wholesale gas supply costs incurred by the local distribution company to provide gas service to its customers. It is based on estimates that are then reconciled to actual costs at the end of the period, with interest on over-or under-collections, but without profit or mark up by the local distribution company. If wholesale natural gas costs decline below estimated cost levels, utilities will pass the savings on to customers.

If approved, the rate decrease will go into effect on Nov. 1. — CINDY KIBBE

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